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Conversation with a colleague spooking you?

Are there times when you can feel that your speaking to a coworker looks like it is painful for that person? Maybe it is painful for you to converse with certain people? Is it frustrating to you that the other person speaks way too slowly or are they so fast-paced and loud that you feel yourself cringing on the inside and need a little recovery time afterwards?

During the past few weeks I have listened to smart, successful people complain about their frustrations with their coworkers. Not frustrations about loud chewing, fingernail clipping, stepping away from their desk too often, smelly leftovers... you get the point. What I have heard about is a frustration in talking with them.


Our natural communication styles are just that -- natural to each individual. So how do you have a positive and productive conversation with someone who has the polar opposite style? At The Communication Gym we learn about DISC styles so that we become aware of differing styles and practice skills so we can comfortably meet people where they are.

You can begin this practice today!

First, pay attention to those with whom you interact. Look at their body language and listen for the volume and pace of their speaking. Do they lean in or out while they speak to you? Do you feel like they are yelling at you? Are they speaking so quickly you cannot follow or so slowly that you lose interest? Is their body moving or is it still?

Awareness of differences is your first step to being able to bridge the difference in your styles.

Now that you have recognized distinct qualities in some people, stand in front of a mirror at home. Pretend you are speaking to that person and include those traits you noticed in them. Talk louder or softer to change your volume, increase or decrease your rate of speech, add large gestures, or remain completely still. Because this is not your natural communication style, you will find this difficult and awkward. But the more you do it, the more comfortable you will become, and you will be able to naturally shift your style to build that bridge between you and your coworker.

If you’re looking to practice with others and under the guidance of a coach, join one of our Professional Practice Groups. Read more here.

See YOU @ The Gym!

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